Paul Nicholls is convinced that Frodo can make his presence felt in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The Ditcheat coach saddled four runners in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase in Kempton on Boxing Day, with much of the pre-race attention focusing on the rematch between his two-time winner Clan Des Obeaux and the highest rated hunter in the country Cyrname.
This pair ultimately failed to live up to expectations, and instead, the team’s apparent third string stole the show – doing most of the racing under the guidance of regular partner Bryony Frost, who became the first female jockey to win the holiday highlight.
Despite his victory, Frodo is a 16-1 shot for the Gold Cup, but Nicholls reports his charge took his King George efforts in his stride and insists he has no desperate hopes for the Blue Ribbon. steeplechase at Prestbury Park in March.
He said, “Frodo is crazy cool. When he’s like that he’s at the top of his game – he’s doing really well.
“Frodo will go straight to the Gold Cup. Bryony had a brilliant run on him, and he was the best horse of the day.
“Nobody expects him to win the Gold Cup – but if he won it, it wouldn’t be a surprise (to me).
“Someone said the other day Santini ran the best Gold Cup try in the King George (finished fifth). But I disagree – Frodo ran the best Gold Cup try without a shadow of a doubt.
“He loves Cheltenham and likes to be fresh, so that puts him in the mix.”
The Des Obeaux clan had to settle for minor honors in their bid for a King George treble, while Cyrname was withdrawn.
Nicholls added, “I have to find out where I’m going with the Clan Des Obeaux and Cyrname. But the Clan won’t have a Gold Cup entry so that ruled out that.
“I think we want to get back to Cyrname’s positive conduct. This start at Kempton might not have suited him. He was a little slow to get out of the door, and he ended up behind a few, then it didn’t happen.
“I think he wants to be ridden a little more aggressively. When he won Charlie Hall in Wetherby he managed to pull away and he tanked and jumped brilliantly. He couldn’t do it. the other day.
“He’s a pretty shy horse around the house and always has been. He may need to be positively ridden again.
“If the Clan had followed Frodo, he might have beaten him, but ‘if’ is a big word.”